Platform: Original: Nintendo 64, Remake: 3DS
Play Time: 10 hours and 29 minutes
Intro: Let’s be completely honest with one another. I just bought the 3DS specifically for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Did you really think I could just let it sit while I played Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks? Yeah, I didn’t think so. The big difference between this chapter in The Legendary Journey compared to the previous two is that I remember virtually everything there is to remember about OoT. That means even if I take my time, I should be able to finish this one in a week, easily. You’ll get a better understanding once you read through where I am and what I currently have in terms of items and weapons.
I understand that some of you may be disappointed that I’m focusing on OoT since Ahmed is already covering it, but he’s only touching on the surface of what his experiences are as he plays through the game. I’m going to highlight portions that I enjoy, but also really zero in on the story elements like I did in my previous articles. That means if you’re not into OoT at all, you only have to wait around a week for me to complete the game, and if you are into the game, well you’ve got some excellent reading to do…I hope.
Where am I? I finished all three initial dungeons as child Link, and just removed the Master Sword from the Temple of Time. My objective is to do as much as possible as quickly as I can. As of writing this article I have yet to step outside of the Temple of Time as adult Link and yet I already have 43 Gold Skulltulas, 10 full heart containers and obtained the giant’s wallet, the biggest bomb bag, acquired Din’s Fire, Farore’s Wind and upgraded my Deku Nuts and Deku Sticks. I also completed the mask trading game. As you can tell, I’ve been a busy bee. My next update should take me through half the adult Link adventures if all goes according to plan.
When Ocarina of Time first was released back in late 1998 the world had no idea what to expect. After all it has been releases seven years to the day after the release of Link’s previous console outing. Would it be a worthy successor to A Link to the Past? Would it be just as epic in 3D? How would you battle multiple foes at once? Would exploration remain intact? There were literally hundreds of questions, and Nintendo had an answer to each and every one of them. When all was said and done the original Ocarina of Time was critically acclaimed from every media outlet across the globe as one of the very best videogames ever created. It surpassed all expectations and to this day remains a game that few have ever equaled, including the rest of this series.
It’s very hard to talk about OoT because it’s such a classic. It pretty well proved to the world that an action RPG/adventure game like The Legend of Zelda could be taken into the third dimension. It’s kind of funny, but with the 3DS release, Nintendo’s taken the series into stereoscopic 3D. While clearly not for everyone, I found the 3D effect to enhance an already fantastic game. At first it takes some getting used to. After all your eyes have never really experienced anything like this before, unless you currently own a 3D HDTV. I told myself if I couldn’t put up with the 3D effect after an hour of gameplay I would shut it off and leave it off for good. Nine hours later it was still on. The trick is to find that sweet spot, where everything becomes crystal clear and your eyes aren’t strained. I didn’t suffer from any headaches while playing, although I have heard some people do.
The 3D effect drastically changed the environments giving everything an entirely new dimension of depth. What’s even more incredible is that this is still an early release; one can only imagine how impressive the games will be in another year from now. Like all stereoscopic 3D, the images don’t necessarily come out of the screen at you, but rather showcase the depth between images within the screen. It works something like this. When you move Link around, the HUD is displayed on the axis or plain closest to your eyes. Link is somewhere on the second or third plain and then everything in front of him is on a plain ahead of him. That way everything he interacts with has a certain depth or range to it. Some areas benefit more so than others, but for the most part everything feels much more epic and grandiose with the 3D effect turned on. I attempted to play the game with the 3D off, but after twenty minutes I was craving for the same feeling I had while playing with the full 3D effect on. Color me shocked because I honestly figured I’d play the game in 2D mode only. So this is a huge win in my book and has changed my mind on how to effectively use 3D.
Originally this section of the article was meant to talk about how this game moved the series forward. If I go into too many details, you could be reading for weeks. This is the game that redefined what it meant to play a 3D action RPG. What I will say is that virtually everything that made OoT great the first time around remains perfectly intact. I had no intention of playing this game before the DS Zelda games, but after nine hours of straight playing, I knew the magic was still there. The overall enhancements are purely in the 3D special effects and the graphical upgrade, which Ahmed already discussed in detail.
While just briefly touching on the graphics, they are far more impressive than I thought they would be. All the characters look better than ever before and the environments have more life to them. It’s true stairs are flat and there are elements here and there that remind you you’re playing an N64 game, but the truth of the matter is Grezzo (the developer) did a phenomenal job between straddling the line of paying homage to the original, and remastering it for an entirely new generation.
There is one item change I’ve noticed this early on and it comes in the form of the Stone of Agony. In the original Ocarina of Time this item allowed the rumble pack to vibrate whenever a secret was near. In the 3DS version the item has been replaced with the Shard of Agony, which resonates whenever a secret is near. I like that Nintendo at least thought of something for this item even if it doesn’t work quite as effectively.
The last major upgrade made to the 3DS version has to be the item screen being situated on the bottom screen. This allows for easy item and weapon switching and best of all, the Ocarina is always equipped. You can also see a list of the songs available allowing for easy playback at a future date. This makes OoT 3D the definitive version in my eyes because it’s just so simple to play.
Let’s talk weapons: I’ve decided to change the format of this section of the article. Instead of listing my favorite weapons, I figured I’d list off the main ones given and then talk a bit about the ones I want to. For the child Link portion of the game the big weapons given include the slingshot, bombs, and the boomerang. There are several other items that I have in my inventory, but these three items are extremely useful and two of them cannot be used by adult Link. The slingshot works very well with the motion controls in the 3DS version, albeit one has to disable the 3D viewing mode while using it. Otherwise the 3D effect is interrupted leaving you seeing double images, which makes aiming next to impossible. The same is true for the boomerang; although z-targeting works so well that I use it for all my boomerang needs. As for the bombs, what more can I say, they work exactly as they should.
Plot Points: Ocarina of Time begins with a few quick words by the Deku Tree who introduces himself as the guardian spirit of the forest. The Kokiri, each with his or her own fairy, live with the Deku Tree in the Kokiri Forest. All have a fairy except one boy, which just so happens to be Link. When players are introduced to Link he’s having a nightmare. He sees a vision of a castle with a white horse galloping away and a girl looks back at him with fear in her eyes. Suddenly a black horse appears behind Link with some man on it who raises his hand at Link and bam, the scene cuts back to the Deku Tree speaking with Navi, a Kokiri-less fairly. The Deku Tree tells Navi to seek Link as evil is spreading across the land and it is time for young Link’s journey to begin.
When Navi wakes Link up, the adventure really begins. I’ll spare you the play by play, and focus only on the story. When Link meets up with the Deku Tree for the very first time he finds out that the Deku Tree has been cursed. The Deku Tree also tells him that Link’s dreams are of an impending evil. Link is the only one who can end the curse if he agrees. Obviously Link agrees to help.
With the curse broken the Deku Tree reveals that a man from the desert came to the forest and placed a curse on him. He sought the Spiritual Stone the Deku Tree was holding. He who has all three Spiritual Stones can gain entrance into the Sacred Realm, where the Triforce resides. The three goddesses who created Hyrule left the Triforce behind as a relic to their immense power. He who controls the Triforce will rule the land forever (you must help me Link…sorry I couldn’t help myself). The Deku Tree says that the curse placed on him was too great and he dies, but not without warning Link never to let this man from the desert enter the Sacred Realm.
Upon leaving the Kokiri Forest Link says goodbye to his longtime friend Saria, who will play a critical role later on in the game. Link has to make his way to Hyrule Castle in order to speak with Princess Zelda. She has information Link will need in order to protect the Sacred Realm. When Link finally meets Princess Zelda one of the lengthiest conversations in the whole series takes place. She essentially tells Link everything the Deku Tree did about the Triforce and how it was created, but she also adds that anyone who touches the Triforce with a wish in their heart will have said wish granted. The Princess also tells Link to look into the window she was just looking through to see the Gerudo man Link must prevent from entering the Sacred Realm. When he looks in, it’s none other than Ganondorf himself. Zelda says Link is the only one who can prevent Ganondorf from entering the Sacred Realm and taking the Triforce.
On his way out of Hyrule Castle, Link meets Impa, a protector of the royal family and someone who believes in the visions the Princess is having about Ganondorf. Instead of stopping Ganondorf herself with her wicked ninja powers, she tells Link it’s all up to him. As a nice little nod to those following this series I’m writing, Impa eventually creates Kakariko Village as seen in Twilight Princess. In Ocarina of Time we know that she has a house in the village, but clearly after this game things change. This village has always been a place where the protectors of the royal family have lived so either way, it’s a very nice tie-in to Twilight Princess. We also know that Impa makes an appearance in the original Zelda games for the NES, although her role there is significantly different, only warning Link of Zelda’s plight. If memory serves she was nothing more than Zelda’s nursemaid.
By talking to half a dozen different characters Link learns that the next Spiritual Stone is somewhere on Death Mountain. Death Mountain itself has been used in virtually every major Zelda game since the original NES classic, which I will tie into when I cover that game. Ever since The Legend of Zelda the mountain ranges have typically been referred to as Death Mountain. Before getting there Link meets up with several important characters including Epona, the horse and the super nice young lady, Malon. Epona becomes one of the game’s greatest assets once Link becomes an adult. We’ll get there in my next update I’m sure.
When Link finally makes his way up Death Mountain, he finds Goron City. Here the rock dwellers are all upset because they cannot gain access to their best tasting rocks inside Dodongo’s Cavern. After a bit of back and forth with the Goron chief, Darunia, Link makes his way to the cavern and slays the evil creature resting inside. Darunia is so pleased that he gives Link the second Spiritual Stone. See, that wasn’t so bad was it? If only it was that quick in the actual game.
The Goron race became extremely popular with fans and ever since Ocarina of Time they have made an appearance in virtually every Zelda game. A similar situation occurred with the introduction of Zora’s Waterfall and waterway in A Link to the Past. In Ocarina of Time the Zora’s controlled all the waters in Hyrule and their direct village, if you will, was referred to as Zora’s Domain. They have also become a staple of the series.
Getting back on track, after some investigating Link finds out that the last Spiritual Stone rests within Zora’s Domain. After a lot of back and forth, Link speaks with the Zora King and shows him a letter in a bottle from the King’s daughter, Princess Ruto. Apparently their deity, Lord Jabu-Jabu has swallowed the poor princess. The King tells Link he must go and rescue here. After doing just that, Princess Ruto rewards Link with the final Spiritual Stone, which actually acts as an engagement ring in the Zora culture. Congrats Link, you’re engaged!
After all that, Link finishes up what he has to do in Hyrule and then makes his way to Hyrule Castle. Suddenly his dream he had at the game’s onset comes to fruition. Zelda races out of the castle being chased by Ganondorf. She throws Link the Ocarina of Time and Ganondorf blasts Link out of the way. When Link comes to, he grabs the Ocarina of Time and makes his way to the Temple of Time. Once there, he locates the Master Sword and removes it from its resting place. Congrats Link, you just screwed all of Hyrule. Good going!
It turns out that the key to getting into the Sacred Realm was by collecting the three Spiritual Stones and removing the Master Sword. By doing that Ganondorf was actually able to enter the Sacred Realm and claim the Triforce for himself. Link was part of his plans all along. Link’s spirit was held for seven years in order for him to be of suitable age to take on Ganondorf. Rauru, one of the ancient sages, tells Link all this information and that by having the power of all six sages will they be able to undo all the damage Ganondorf has done. Link also meets Sheik, the last of the Sheikahs, who will play a very important role later in the game. She’s similar to Impa, in that she has mad ninja skills…or at least that’s what is implied.
With all this information in hand, Link sets out for the Forest Temple, home of the next ancient sage.
Moving the series forward: Back when OoT first hit I don’t think anyone could think of anything else to add to the series in order to make further progressions. This was it; this was what everyone had dreamt about for the past seven years. Because the game was cart-based players knew there wouldn’t be voice acting or orchestrated music, but everything we ended up with we adored. Today we can look back and realize there was room for improvement and since OoT 3D is a remastered version of the game, it is a little disappointing not to get remixed music or a fully orchestrated soundtrack. I can’t believe the classic theme is still missing, for shame! We all know Nintendo has a thing against using voice actors in their games, outside Mario himself that is. If Nintendo plans to do more remakes in the future though, I hope they allow the developers a little more freedom. Ocarina of Time 3D isn’t pushing the boundaries of technology for the 3DS. It’s clear much more can be done here from remastering more of the environments to smoothing out some of the enemy designs. I pray Majora’s Mask makes its way to the 3DS, but that Nintendo allows Grezzo or whoever develops it full freedom to do as they please because I can only imagine how incredible the game would be with all the changes mentioned above.
Another change that springs to mind is one that would have made OoT 3D a bit more portable friendly. Every time you save outside of a dungeon you revert back to a specific location. As a child that location is Kokiri Forest. So if you were in Hyrule Castle Market and just needed to close down the system for one reason or another, the minute you came back to your game, you had to make the long journey back to the market all over again. Sure you can simply put the system to sleep, but honestly a nice work around would have been to keep Link in whatever village or town he was in at the time of saving the game.
To locate all installments in this series: http://www.projectcoe.com/category/hands-on/legendary-journey